HOLLAND, Mich. — Preparation is already underway for the Tulip Time Festival in the spring.
The City of Holland has already started planting its hundreds of thousands of bulbs around the city.
If you visit Holland during Tulip Time, there are over one million tulips throughout the city.
Each year, the City of Holland Parks and Recreation Department orders over 500,000 new bulbs to plant in the ground.
"For forever, for decades, they've come from the Netherlands, and they still do that today," said City of Holland's Parks and Recreation Director Andy Kenyon.
@cityofholland Tulip bulbs estimated to arrive from the Netherlands Sept. 22nd. 🥳 #netherlands #tulips #cityofholland #dutch #authentic #puremichigan ♬ Sail - AWOLNATION
The tulips traveling over 3,500 miles is a nod to the city's dutch roots. That's despite tulip bulbs also being farmed on our country's West Coast.
"We think that tie to the Netherlands is important, and they do too, and they love it. We’re one of their biggest municipal, I guess, exporters or importers of tulip bulbs," said Kenyon.
The end result isn't as simple as it seems.
The City of Holland's Parks and Recreation Department said it takes a lot of planning.
"Earlier this spring, we started this process. We go around town, we pick out ones that we want to replace, ones that need to be replaced, we put the order together, put it out for bid sometime in early June, and then that bid is awarded, and then these show up end of September, beginning of October," said Kenyon.
@cityofholland The journey to Holland, Michigan is complete! 🇳🇱🌷🇺🇸 #miholland #tulips #journey #holland #netherlands #bulbs ♬ On Top Of The World - Imagine Dragons
The tulip bulbs are kept in a cooler about the size of a double-car garage. This year, they ordered 550,600 of them.
"Each each crate has about 500 bulbs in each one. There's 90 different varieties in here. They're all labeled, and then we know what that color is, what variety that is how soon it's going to bloom, how tall it's going to get, so we design our beds around those specific," said Kenyon.
The bulbs eventually end up in the ground ready for Tulip Time in the spring.
"It’s a ton of work. Our parks and recreation team puts a ton of work and effort into planning it. We have to design the beds, where they're going to go, what kind of tulips, how many tulips, and then we have to figure out how we're going to do it," said Kenyon.
The planting process has already started, and a community plant event took place in the beginning of October.
@cityofholland Friday was City Employee tulip planting- Thank you to all those who volunteered🌷💐 #cityofholland #tulips #bulbs #digging #holland #michigan #puremichigan #volunteer ♬ Digging in the Dirt - Music Travel Kids
The parks and recreation department said the successful plants are due to community volunteers. They added they normally see around 1,000 people help out each year in addition to its employees.
The tulips for 2023 should be finished being planted by Thanksgiving.
Click here for more information on the Tulip Time Festival. It runs May 6-14, 2023.